I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve been feeling — after an initial whoosh of hooray and hope — so deeply blah lately. I realize blah is not the most descriptive term in the world, but I can’t think of how else to describe it: I’m not really sad, I’m not really happy, I’m not really interested in much of anything. I have no desire to interact with anyone, talking sounds exhausting and smiling feels like it requires way too many muscles. It’s a pervasive sense of blah with a side serving of meh.

If this is rehab transition, it seems a little unfair given how I had been breathlessly counting down the days/hours/minutes until I could return to my life, which had taken on a sort of mirage effect in my mind by the final week or so. There it was, shimmering in the distance: the world where I have kids and a comfortable bed and I’m allowed to use aerosol hairspray. I wanted to come home so badly, and yet now that I’m finally here I guess I miss being there.

There are lots of things I don’t miss, of course. I don’t miss waking up at 5:45 or waiting in a Disneyland-length line to request an ibuprofen or lying in bed at night staring at the ceiling because we can’t have any reading material aside from AA literature. I don’t miss the seemingly endless hours of lectures and group sessions and meetings each day. I don’t miss the cattle shuffle to receive our high-calorie cafeteria meals, which were announced three times daily via the comically Pavlovian clang of a brass bell. I don’t miss the facility’s we-don’t-trust-you-not-to-guzzle-chemical-foam brand of hand sanitizer that lingered stickily on your palms because it lacked the drying effect of alcohol.

What I do miss is being in an environment where everyone gets it. It’s like … imagine there’s this crappy thing about you that causes you all sorts of bone-deep shame and makes you feel alone in the world, like you’re the only one with the thing (even though you know better), and then you move into a house where all your roommates, every last one of them, have the exact same thing. Every conversation you have, even the politely useless blips of “Good morning” and “Huh, looks like rain today” has the ring of easy camaraderie. You meet someone new and that forever-worry of what they’d think of you if they knew what a screwup you are is gone. Unlikely friendships are forged because of the bond that runs underneath everything, a connection of shared regret. There’s no need to explain, no need to apologize. The piss-poor choices you’ve made: everyone’s been there, done that. God, the surprising relief of living that way.

(I realize that’s what the meetings are for, at least in part. I’ve been assured that there will come a time when the idea of attending yet another meeting won’t feel like an ass-pain on par with a monstrous third trimester hemorrhoid [as the saying goes, How long do you have to go to meetings? Until you WANT to go to meetings], but I’m definitely not there yet.)

They told me, over and over, the hardest work would start when I came home. I didn’t really believe it, though. I figured I’d pull on my old life like a pair of broken-in jeans, but the truth is the mirage was exactly that. I can’t go back to how things were, I have to figure out what the new picture looks like. I have to find my way to that sense of belonging I got a taste of, because retreating inside myself doesn’t work.

But maybe most of all, I have to actually deal with things now instead of altering the way I feel. Maybe that’s what this blankness is all about — it may not be fun, but it’s safer than the murk that’s just below the surface. The towering shitpile of self-loathing that I’ve tried to shove aside with substances, back and bigger than ever and ready to say howdy.

What can I do but ride it out, go to my outpatient treatment, go to my meetings, and see where it all takes me. Figure out when I need to drive and when I need to let go of the goddamned wheel. Take a breath and be here in the blah-filled moment, and trust that better things are yet to come.

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Isabel
Isabel
7 years ago

I can’t claim to know how you feel. I’ve never walked in your shoes. I can however tell you that I do admire the way you have picked yourself up and dusted yourself off. How you put one foot in front of the other.

I am here (as are countless others) to read your words, listen to your voice and hopefully be here to make you feel less blah.

Keep on keeping on, one minute at a time. XOXO

SucreGlace
SucreGlace
7 years ago

You’re back. Welcome.

I’ve been worried about you. It’s so weird, I don’t really know you, and you certainly don’t know me (I’ve only commented once, a long time ago), but you pour so much of yourself out there on the internet that I feel close to you. It’s like following a soap opera, rooting for a favorite character, except that you’re real, and I worry, for you and for your family.

I have no idea what you’re going through. This is so out of my depth. But I wish the best for you.

Good luck.

Sherri
Sherri
7 years ago

I found myself thinking about you the other day, hoping that you were okay because you hadn’t posted in awhile. I’m glad to hear that you reached out for help and I truly hope that you are able to continue down the path that leads to your health and happiness.

Amy
Amy
7 years ago

Linda, you can do this. Reaching out and being so real and vulnerable is part of it…and you’re throwing this out there to the whole world. The support is around you, just hold out your hand. And that blah is similar to what it feel like to come home from an AA or Al-Anon retreat or conference. It’s hard to be back in the world, around people you aren’t sure get it. Big, big hugs.

Liz
Liz
7 years ago

I don’t really know what to say that will be meaningful, but I think it is important to provide a comment of support in times like this. I don’t know if it feels like it to you, but from the outside it seems like you are doing something very brave and selfless even though it is so painful right now. We’re all rooting for you.

nonsoccermom
7 years ago

I can’t even imagine what you must be feeling and thinking right now, but just know that there are people out here cheering you on. I’m glad you’re back, and wish you all the best.

Tiffany Wheat
Tiffany Wheat
7 years ago

Been where you are, and it sucks. It does get better and life gets easier. If you ever need to talk shoot me an email

bj
bj
7 years ago

I am so very much pulling for you. I’ve told you before in the comments section that before I read your blog, I’d dismissed “addicts” as “those people”, ones who weren’t in my world. It was wrong then, and I shouldn’t have needed your blog to see you (and others who struggle with addiction) as a people, just like me, but I did. You’ve done something there, by putting even just me on the right path.

I used to think of your blog as describing a happy ending, but, as with life itself, there are no simple happy endings. There’s constant work to keep ourselves in the life we want to live. I have never faced the work you have to do or the choices you face, but I do know that all of us have to make choices to live our lives, even those of us who make look shiny on the outside.

Nancy
Nancy
7 years ago

I checked my blog feed and your facebook periodically to see if I’d missed something in the last few weeks.
Saw just now you had posted something and saw your April 11 post and seriously, burst into tears.
I’m happy to see a followup and just want to wish you a million best wishes and say hang in there and you can do this and all those other hokey expressions when I really just want to give you a big hug. xoxox

Kristin
Kristin
7 years ago

Your last 2 blog posts coincide with my initial foray into the Sinclair Method, a method for curing alcoholism. I am a mom to 3 kids and a schoolteacher and don’t have a lot of time to comment on blogs, but I wanted to take the time to say that I hope you will look into this book: book The Cure for Alcoholism: The Medically Proven Way to Eliminate Alcohol Addiction by Roy Eskapa. Perhaps you’ve tried Naltrexone before, but if not, I’d think it’d be worth looking into. I am just starting on it (part of the Sinclair method) and am hopeful for myself and my addiction. Also pulling for you. All the best —

Kristin
Kristin
7 years ago

I wanted to make it super-easy for you to check out this book:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cure-Alcoholism-Medically-Eliminate/dp/1937856135

Deb
Deb
7 years ago

I was thinking about you just the other day, Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m not nearly as eloquent as the above commenters, but count me as another stranger, thinking of you, hoping for you, and supporting you.

SJ
SJ
7 years ago

“…I have to figure out what the new picture looks like. I have to find my way to that sense of belonging…”

I’m not walking the same path that you are, but I’m walking one that has altered my life in so many ways that I too feel that blah feeling you speak of.

I was thinking of you while you were gone, and am cheering for you from where I stand. A stranger yes, but so similar you have no idea. Be well Linda.

holley
holley
7 years ago

Well said! You are a beautiful writer and a beautiful person.

Jenny
7 years ago

I am so glad you’re back and I hope the blahs pass quickly!

Courtney Katz
Courtney Katz
7 years ago

So glad to see you back.

Do you read The Bloggess? Her blog and book let lots of people know they weren’t alone and there were other strangelings out there too. For years people have said you should write a book, I would certainly read it, and it might help you find your tribe.

Deborah
Deborah
7 years ago

I have missed you. I have worried about you. We don’t actually know each other. I don’t even comment. I just lurk and read, and sit mentally on the couch beside you, listening to your humor and honesty and peeled raw thoughts, nodding my head vigorously in a “me too” kind of way. I’m sorry things are hard. I’m so proud of you for having the courage to do the hard thing. I don’t know what it is like to have an alcohol addiction but I do know what it is to stare down a demon that threatens everything, and I remember the helplessness and what power and endurance it requires. Just wanted to say glad you are back. We missed you.

Rachel
Rachel
7 years ago

Oh, Linda. I come from a long line of addicts, and while I somehow escaped, I feel that awful ride into and out of rehab and finding a new normal. It’s like coming down from the emotional high of the world’s most fucked up family reunion. It’s the last place you want to go, but jesus it’s a relief to see how alone you aren’t. I wish you one mentally-healthy day at a time, and all the compassion in the world, for you and your family. I wish you whatever the uncreepy internet commenter version is, of hugging you and telling you it will all be okay, especially when okayness feels like a lie.

David
David
7 years ago

Linda, I checked myself into The Betty Ford Center last year. I know how you feel. There is a tremendous feeling of loss and TBFC cautioned us about it. you are no longer in this protective “bubble” (not my word) It takes a while to re-adjust, don’t beat yourself up over it. Stick to your transistion plan, go to meetings until you find the one(s) you like and ignore the ones that do you no good. Get a sponsor and take advantage of her. If you ever need to talk, I’m open. I’m also totally unbaised as we don’t know each other, but share something in common. Peace to you.

David

Jeannie
Jeannie
7 years ago

I just wanted to say I’m glad you’re back. I’ve enjoyed reading your stories for years now, and for what it’s worth, I’ve always thought you were a very funny person, who had a kind wisdom behind her writing and thoughts. I hope your find your way into the new normal soon.

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago

I am so happy you are back. It will be OK.

Em
Em
7 years ago

Hang in there! I’m cheering you on.

Lisa Ann
Lisa Ann
7 years ago

Linda, I’ve been reading you for so long. While our lives are so very different, your words speak to me in a way few do. Thank you for your honesty; I wish you peace, love & strength for your journey.

And in the words of Walon (from the Wire): “Gettin’ clean’s the easy part. And then comes life”.

Angela
7 years ago

I have no words of wisdom for you, Linda, just so, so many good wishes for you. I have no doubt you’ll find your way, even if it means stumbling through some mucky parts of the trail. xoxo

Amy
Amy
7 years ago

Addiction is hard but I am very glad you are doing this for yourself. Keep it up. The best things in life are hard.

gingerest
gingerest
7 years ago

Hey, welcome back. I just read Jennifer Weiner’s All Fall Down and I think you might find it – I don’t know. Helpful? Familiar? Reassuring but disturbing? A successful blogger and WAHM gets addicted to pain pills and deals with the consequences. I mean, maybe not, given that recovery entails listening to lots of nonfictional personal stories of addiction.
Anyway. I’m glad you’re home and it’s good to see you writing again.

Kelly
Kelly
7 years ago

Damn, so sorry to hear how things have been for you, but glad to hear you are finding the path out. We’ve all missed you. Best of luck today and each day forward.

Amy
Amy
7 years ago

You are home. Good.

I love and admire you. I was wondering if you could think about this, and maybe write about it if your willing – this statement you made: “I have to find my way to that sense of belonging I got a taste of, because retreating inside myself doesn’t work.”

I retreat inside myself. And it doesn’t work. It puts great strain on my marriage, on my family. I don’t know why I do it. And I don’t know how to stop it. But I want to. Desperately.

It’s lonely inside myself. It would really help me if you could talk about that – retreating inside yourself.

I am glad you are home.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

Welcome back and good luck. Nothing in life that’s easy is worth having.

Jessie
Jessie
7 years ago

Good luck, Linda. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling. We all have our demons. It takes real strength and courage to address them and even MORE strength and courage to admit to them. You got this.

mcconk
mcconk
7 years ago

Hoping a new peace comes to you very soon. I have absolute confidence that you will get there.

Pat
Pat
7 years ago

Linda, I am proud of you and rooting for you and your family. You are fighting a tough battle but your family is worth it. My ex-husband chose his addiction and left his 3 little boys behind (then 4,5&7). They lost out on a father and he missed out on the incredible young men they have become, now 23,25&26. Every time you disappear from your blog I worry about where you are because I know this is such a difficult journey. Please take heart in the fact that not only are your loved ones cheering you on, all of us strangers care that you succeed.

Lisa M.
Lisa M.
7 years ago

I think you’re great. Good for you for getting the help you needed, and continuing to see it through, as tedious as it feels sometimes.

I’m cheering for you! (Can you hear it? All the way from Staten Island….wooooo!)

I’m also willing to talk anytime, though I haven’t walked in your footsteps. I wonder if talking to strangers might help sometimes. You are welcome to email me any time.

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago

Im so happy your home. I have worried about you and thought about you many times. We may not really know each other but I wish you nothing but success in this journey and I am so thankful for your honesty and willingness to share your story.

Shannon
Shannon
7 years ago

I’ve been through the flip side. I grew up with an addict. One who never had the strength to ask for help or take the help, despite it being offered and available at every turn. Recovery only came by why of a stroke.
The damage the years before that caused have never and never will be completely repaired, and so all I can say is that I am so proud of you (as much as a stranger on the internet can be. Proud of you for doing what you need to do, not only for you, but for your boys who need their mom, for your husband who needs his wife, and for every other person you know now and will know in the future who all deserve the best version of you as much as you deserve it too.
Stay strong. Move forward. You’ve got this. *hugs*

Kizz
7 years ago

This sounds back breakingly hard and so important. I’m thinking of you while you do the work.

sarah
sarah
7 years ago

Glad you are back. Glad you are ok. You’ve been missed. Wishing you all the best.

Sharon
Sharon
7 years ago

My husband just came home from the same type of detox and then inpatient program. The thought of him coming home was also like a mirage. We pictured everything being right with the world. It’s better, and I’m grateful, but it’s hard. Glad to hear your perspective. You did a brave thing.

Alice
Alice
7 years ago

I’m pulling for you, Linda, and admire you so much. I’ve missed you and am so happy you’re back. Sending love and support your way.

Erica
Erica
7 years ago

Like others, I went looking for you on the internet a few weeks ago because I hadn’t seen any posts or tweets. I was glad to see your entries today and glad to hear that you are working towards getting better. You can count me among the many along the interwebs that are pulling for you and sending love and strength your way.

LD's Mom
LD's Mom
7 years ago

Love and cheers from Colorado. It may take a long time to find your new stride, but from my perspective you are strong and brave despite what naysaying thoughts you may have in your head, so I don’t really have a doubt in my mind that you will find that path. Seems like patience will be essential. Patience for yourself. Patience for your family. Patience for how long it all takes. Best wishes. If you choose to write about it along the way, I and thousands of others will be here eager to listen and love.

Eve
Eve
7 years ago

Like a lot of other people have said, even though we’ve never met I feel like I know you from reading your website for so many years. Reading what you’ve written has helped me to feel like I’m not alone so many times over the years. And so now, please know that you’re not alone either. I’m pulling for you and sending nothing but positive thoughts and love your way. You are a strong, brave, and beautiful woman. You will get through all this.

Heather
Heather
7 years ago

I have nothing truly constructive to offer other than my bone-deep belief that you are a person of true value who will find her way out of this dark place. Your boys need you. The world needs you. I have complete faith that you are capable of the hard work.

We’re all out here pulling for you.

teven
teven
7 years ago

It must seem both odd an yet strangely comforting to have a group of people, some you know, some you don’t, pulling for you. Its got to at least tweak the blah enough to ease the numbing sensation of being home, feeling rudderless, if only for a short while.

Having been in your spot on more occasions than I care to remember, I know that for now, while little solace may be extracted from the kindness of strangers (or even friends), eventually you may find that those kindnesses mean absolutely everything. And they can see you through the malaise.

I wish you the best of luck on this difficult trip. Having read your blog almost since its inception, I sense you have the strength to endure it. In fact, I go so far as to say that you’re the strongest woman that I don’t know.

Leslie
Leslie
7 years ago

Linda,

It’s so good to have you back! I was so worried about you… And I am in awe of what you have accomplished and continue to share with us.

Kathleenicanrah
Kathleenicanrah
7 years ago

You are doing big, important work- the most important work. It is work though, no doubt about it.
Sending all and every good thought as you trudge though. May it get easier.

LLM
LLM
7 years ago

so glad you are back. I haven’t met you but I missed you as did so many others. I missed your ‘voice’ and how you have such a beautiful way of writing about even the ugly parts.

I am learning to embrace the ugly as well. I came across this blogger and book and thought of you. Perhaps you have heard of her. She is a recovering addict and is so not ashamed of this or any part of her past/present. Her writing about her struggles is refreshing (is that weird?) Anyway, do with it as you wish.

http://momastery.com/blog/2015/04/13/world-mentally/

Katie
Katie
7 years ago

You are so brave to write about this. So very brave. And you are undoubtedly helping many others in this same situation or to understand their loved ones who are in similar situations. Thank you for writing and showing us your soul. The world needs more people out there like you.

Amy
Amy
7 years ago

You’ve shared so much of yourself, and we’re better for it. If we had any idea what the right thing to say was, we’d be saying it.

And I know that you think some people “might” like to read your writing, but the truth is, the world needs your voice. If writing can be a meditation for you, let it be. The rest of the world and I am glad you’re back.

Andrea
Andrea
7 years ago

Welcome back to this space. This note is short, but please know that I am sending you good wishes and heaps of support (and undoubtedly so many other readers are too). Take good care!!